IFA 2019 is the place to see and be seen in the European large appliance industry. Many of the fridges, washers and ovens on show here in Berlin won't be available in the US, but there are plenty of features I wish would come Stateside. None of the European manufacturers will commit to if or when these features might show up in the US, so for now all we can do is look jealously from afar. Here's what we're missing out on.
If there was one clear trend for large appliances at IFA this year, it was customization. These are the newest ways Europeans can add their own personal style to the largest appliance in their kitchen.
Talk about refrigerator door art. Bosch displayed a fresh model of its Vario Style line, with an actual photo finish. Vario Style debuted in 2017, but this year the folks at Bosch worked with graphic designer Simone Hutsch to produce these modular doors. They're easily removable, so you can clip on a new one if you'd like to change out the photo or swap over to a solid color. There's no word on exact pricing or availability, but the Vario Style line is already strongly established with models costing around 1,000 euros (about $1,100, £900 or AU$1,600 converted).
Samsung unveiled a new refrigerator line called Bespoke, and it's also all about customization. The new line lets you build your own custom fridge, from among eight different sizes, nine colors and three texture options. The line is also designed to grow with you, if needed. You can easily add a section to expand your food storage. There's no word yet on pricing and availability, as is common for most of the large appliances here, and from Samsung in general.
Fridges that take care of themselves
LG also announced a feature it calls Proactive Customer Care. It's a new addition to the LG ThinQ app, and it works with LG's new bottom-freezer refrigerators and front-load washing machines. Proactive Customer Care uses AI to monitor your appliances for potential problems like temperature drops or poor air flow. When something seems wrong, you'll get an app alert before the problem escalates.
Electrolux refrigerators are also looking out for you. A new feature on the company's four-door fridges called MultiChill will warn you before you've made a mistake, like freezing your beer. Tell the app what you're chilling and you'll get a recommendation for time and temperature. The app will let you know when that time is up. Electrolux is bringing Smarter Fridge Cams into the company's connected models, so you can check on your groceries when you're at the store.
Bosch's latest line of appliances promise a new level of stealth. The company's new Silence Edition appliance line includes a washer, dryer, dishwasher, fridge and oven hood, all with improved decibel ratings. Each model in the line will roll out to Europe first, with no US details announced.
Electrolux also showed off an ultrasonic stain pen to pretreat your clothes without damaging the fabric. Of course, we also got to see a new laundry pair. The company debuted a new washer and dryer pair with matching programs. Pick your favorite cycle and put your clothes in the washer. Then, transfer to the dryer and the dryer will start into its portion of the shared program.
Once your clothes are washed, dried and hanging in your closet, Samsung wants to keep them fresh. The Samsung AirDresser is a steam closet, designed to retrofit into your closet and freshen your clothes with its JetAir and JetSteam systems. There aren't any details yet on pricing and availability for the AirDresser.
The Electrolux Cookview Oven puts a camera in your built-in oven's door handle, so you can keep an eye on your food from your phone as it cooks. You can also control the oven with voice controls via Google Assistant. The Cookview uses a combination of steam and heat to prepare your food.
Electrolux didn't stop there. They also introduced a new wireless and battery-less temperature probe that pairs with the SensePro Hob introduced last year. The temperature probe uses a simple antenna to send signals to the Hob. The Hob then interprets the frequency of the signal to send a reading to your app.
Samsung also brought a new oven to IFA, called the Dual Cook Steam Oven. Along with a new user interface and Satin Glass finish, the oven features a stacked, vertical design that can simultaneously cook with convection in one chamber and steam in the other. We also got to enjoy a meal served by Samsung's BotChef robot.
Electrolux, Samsung, Bosch and LG all brought new concepts and interesting designs to IFA this year. Most will likely hit the European market in the coming year, but we probably won't see them here in the US. Still, we'll keep an eye out for any sign of these features stateside.
Watch this: These Electrolux appliance features make me jealous of Europe
All the new phones, laptops, smart home gadgets and more from IFA 2019